Questions about legal fees in a Connecticut divorce? Well then this blog will help you.
Most divorce lawyers in Connecticut bill by the hour.
Clients usually pay a retainer, which the attorney deposits in a Trustee (IOLTA) Account. The attorney maintains an accounting of their time as services are performed. Then the attorney withdraws funds from the Trustee account for the legal fees they earned. It sort of works like a debit account.
If the initial retainer is exhausted, the client usually advances a second retainer and so on.
At the end of the case, any money left over in the Trustee account is to be promptly refunded to the client.
Hourly rates for divorce lawyers in Connecticut vary from about $250 (maybe even less for less experienced or hungry lawyers) to $750 or more. The initial retainer also varies. Some attorneys request as little as $1,000 while others ask for (and get) $30,000 and up. Fairfield County divorce lawyers who handle cases in Bridgeport and especially in Stamford Courts tend to charge the most.
All of these terms and the scope of the lawyer’s services, must be set forth in a written Retainer Agreement provided by the lawyer to the client.
Here are some factors attorneys use in determining a legal fees in a Connecticut divorce:
- The novelty and difficulty of the issues involved and the skill required to perform the legal services properly
- The fee customarily charged by others attorneys in the same locality
- The time limitations imposed by the client or by the circumstances of the case
- The nature and length of the relationship with the client; and
- The experience, reputation and ability of the lawyer performing the services.
Sometimes an attorney will agree to charge a set fee rather than charging hourly. This is known as a flat fee divorce and is usually limited to uncontested divorces that do not involve children, alimony or property distribution.
A spouse can request that the other spouse (or ex spouse) pay legal fees in a Connecticut divorce generally in three scenarios:
- While the case is pending allowing the the less “monied” spouse to afford representation;
- At the time of divorce so that the orders of the court are no undermined by saddling a spouse with a big legal debt at the end of the case; and
- If the other party is found in contempt for violating court orders. The legal fees are ordered to penalize the offending spouse,
I represent clients in all DCF related matters though out Fairfield County including those who reside in Easton, Fairfield, Monroe, Trumbull, Stratford, Bridgeport, Westport, Weston, New Canaan, Wilton, Norwalk, Darien, Stamford and Greenwich.